Never Kiss a Bad Boy(147)

By: Nora Flite

Thumbing her chin, I tilted her jaw up and spoke with cool intensity. “I miss you every second you're out of my sight.” Her blush was a treasure.

Clearing her throat, she stepped back, sliding her fingers into my hand. Our bandages touched. “It's strange,” Marina whispered. Facing towards the cemetery, she looked like she was listening to the wind. It jostled the leaves over our heads. “I'm still having trouble believing it's over.”

Pushing her hair off of her collar bone, I drew her to my side. It was where she belonged. “When Kite and I killed his uncle, I don't think we slept well for weeks. Maybe months.” She angled her face, staring up at me. “Sometimes the scars we carry take time to heal over. Even if the wounds were made for a good reason.”

Her lips glistened, parting and begging to be touched. “I wanted to ask you something,” she said gently. “Your Gram... and your father... what ever happened to them, do you know?”

It was my turn to smile sadly. “My dad killed himself in the psych ward. I didn't know until I was a teen, I looked him up and found his obituary. As for Gram...” Shaking myself, I gazed over the tombstones. They made me think of my younger brother's funeral.

“Are you okay?” she asked.

Nodding, I said, “The day we made our bond, Kite and I cleaned up at his uncle's home. I knew we needed to leave, and fast, but I wanted to see her. My nostrils flared from my brisk inhale. “I told her I loved her. She looked up from the TV long enough to tell me that she loved me, too.”

I love you too, Bill.

Lifting her hand, I kissed where the scar was hidden. I said, “She called me my father's name. By then, I was never Jacob to her.”

Wet hurt flooded Marina's eyes. She did me the courtesy of not allowing her tears to spill. “I'm sorry,” she whispered. “That must have been hard.”

The wind was cool on my neck. “If she'd been more clear headed, she might have begged me to stay. In a way, her dementia was a favor.” The memory was a pit in my stomach. Rejection made leaving easy, but it had helped form the shell around my heart.

A shell Marina had chiseled through.

Reminding myself that my past was not my present, I hugged her to me and kissed her forehead. Together, we huddled in the shade of the tree and listened to our heartbeats.

My phone buzzed, and without looking, I knew it was Kite. “Come on,” I said, leading her down the slope. “He'll be wondering where we both are. Let's not make him worry.”

Laughing clear as a silver bell, she tugged me down the sidewalk. “Hurry up, then! I want to see what my new room looks like! You've kept me out of your apartment for too long, were you building me a damn castle?” she teased.

We'd moved her belongings from storage, dividing them between Kite's place and my own. He couldn't hog her any longer; Marina's spare room in my place was finished, and I'd gone to great lengths to prepare it to her liking.

The surprise closet full of expensive clothes that I'd prepared would either impress her, or make her furious.

Both of those reactions would delight me.

Following that smiling girl down the street, my heart enveloped my entire chest. It could have burst, surely no man was meant to feel so happy. This was as close to perfection as I would ever reach.

Kite and I had struggled our whole lives. We'd fought, we'd killed, and we'd suffered.

Nothing had brought us true joy.

But now, that had changed. We had changed.

In this brutal world, with Marina at our side?

We'd finally found our paradise.


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